When massive, seemingly soulless corporations recognize that the happiness of the workforce is a great predictor of long-term sustainable success, then you’ll see the societal tip occur.
– Shawn Achor
As we began the coaching session, Susan* told me this story.
A “major mistake” by someone on her team resulted in a miscommunication to over 5,000 people. The news flew to the highest level reaching the CEO. It was not a pretty sight.
What happened? An employee made a mistake. (And someone needs to be held responsible).
I responded, “Sounds serious, how did you handle the situation?”
“I went out into the work area and asked Mary*, what do you think we should do?”
Mary replied, “I think we should contact everyone that received the information…let’s divide the list and start making phone calls.”
“What happened?” I curiously asked.
“The response of those who received a call was marked by gratitude…it was a victory of recovery once the mistake was discovered.”
Self-managed work does not mean perfection; whether system or process glitches or human error, life happens.
The definition of self-managed speaks to an employee making their own decisions about how to organize their work, rather being led or controlled by a manager.
Since you are reading this post, I believe this appeals to you. Talented people demand the freedom of self-managed work … “Communicate the expectations and desired outcome, provide the tools and let me go.” Sound good to you? I thought so.
Beyond Self-Managed Work
While the solution to engagement and productivity is self-managed work, there’s more to the story.
What if you own the business, what if you are responsible for the organization’s success? How will you win in today’s “do more with less” business model?
The future belongs to companies with self-managed employees.
Why? Because self-managed employees …
- Look forward to coming to work
- Take ownership for tasks assigned
- Accept personal responsibility
- Hold themselves accountable
- Create less conflict
And, they are happier people, more fun to work with.
Cultivating a Happy Workforce
Shawn Achor points out the value of happy workers in The Happiness Advantage. The value of happy workers is the good elephant in the room, huge rewards.
Data abounds showing that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or to become burned out. Happy CEOs are more likely to lead teams of employees who are both happy and healthy, and who find their work climate conducive to high performance. The list of happiness in the workplace goes on and on. (page 41)
The future belongs to companies with self-managed employees because self-managed employees are happier people. Sustainability involves people, profit, and planet.
If you want to get the employee piece of your business right, develop the people part, and the people will make the business part right, too.
Revealing much, my last question for Susan was important, “How did Mary respond to your question?” (What do you think we should do?)
“She was surprised at first, then it became her project and she stepped up to the plate. She was excited, volunteered to stay late, and we got the job done. I think she felt trusted and respected.”
Why do you think Mary was surprised?
In the midst of the crisis, what allowed her to feel trusted and respected?
The People Project helps create self-managed employees; do your people have a copy?
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader